*Starred Review* This beautifully crafted novel follows Bit Stone, the first child to be born in the late 1960s on an upstate New York commune called Arcadia, from childhood through the year 2018. An introspective youngster who can often go months without speaking, Bit “watches life from a distance.” He can see how hard his parents work to make Arcadia successful, but he can also see that the self-indulgent commune leader frequently fails to live up to his own ideals. As the backbreaking work, continual poverty, and near-constant hunger work to undermine the once-flourishing sense of community, Bit’s family leaves the commune to make their way in the outside world. Bit becomes a photographer and teacher but is always anchored to the place of his childhood, even marrying the emotionally damaged daughter of Arcadia’s guru, but happiness proves elusive, both for him and for the greater world, as a flu pandemic sweeps the globe. Groff’s second novel, after the well-received The Monsters of Templeton (2008), gives full rein to her formidable descriptive powers, as she summons both the beauty of striving for perfection and the inevitable devastation of failing so miserably to achieve it. --Joanne Wilkinson
--This text refers to the
"Richly peopled and ambitious and oh, so lovely, Lauren Groff's Arcadia is one of the most moving and satisfying novels I've read in a long time. It's not possible to write any better without showing off." -- Richard Russo "Part Stone Diaries, part Lord of the Flies, part something out of a Shakespearean tragedy, Lauren Groff's Arcadia is so uniquely absorbing that you finish it as if waking from a dream. Groff is one of our most talented writers, and Arcadia one of the most revelatory, magical and ambitious novels I've read in years." -- Kate Walbert, author of the New York Times Book Review's 10 best books of the year, the New York Times bestselling novel A Short History of Women "'Arcadia swings gently between moments of pure happiness and exquisitely described melancholy ... beautiful prose ... Arcadia the commune may have been an experiment in a new way of living but Arcadia the book explores several lifestyles, without the need for the reader to blister their hands weeding a soy patch. Arcadia is smart, beautiful, rooted in an earthy and glorious location. Read it and consider your place in the world and the people you love, but mostly read it for its beauty. Groff's beautifully written Arcadia paints a lyrical picture ... You fall in love with Arcadia's protagonist, Bit, and find yourself transported to a different time, place and lifestyle.'" Stylist 5 stars "Lauren Groff's Arcadia is so immersed in the life of a hippie commune that patchouli ought to waft off its pages.Ms. Groff has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality, not just the knee-jerk kind that Arcadian platitudes espoused. Even more unexpectedly, she has expanded this period piece so that it stretches from 1965 to 2018, coaxing forth a remarkable amount of suspense from the way her characters change over time. And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling timeless and vast. The raw beauty of Ms. Groff's prose is one of the best things about Arcadia. But it is by no means this book's only kind of splendour.Arcadia is stunningly sensual and visceral in describing behaviour straight out of a time capsule.A shimmering evocation of the commune's heyday. Even allowing for Ms. Groff's extraordinarily rich imagination, she writes about this life as if she has known it." New York Times "With Arcadia, Groff has woven her own tale, in eloquent prose that's rich in sense of place and depth of feeling" -- Holly Williams Independent on Sunday
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.